6 Dec 2018

Major funding overhaul recommended for top sport

12:36 pm on 6 December 2018

A major overhaul of sports funding leads the recommendations of a long-awaited review into the rights and welfare of top athletes.

Sport NZ has today released a report by sports lawyer Stephen Cottrell on elite athletes' rights and welfare.

The report was commissioned as part of a broader Sport Integrity Review.

Leading the recommendations is a review of High Performance Sport New Zealand's funding model to find the "optimal balance" between short term performance goals and long term, sustainable development.

Sport NZ and HPSNZ need to determine whether their funding model is too focused on performance outcomes, and whether the needs of athletes are given enough recognition and importance, the review said.

The two organisations also need to consider how national sports organisations "can be better equipped and resourced to meet their

obligations to participants in their high performance environment".

The Elite Athletes' Rights and Welfare report recommends the introduction of a 12 point plan.

The Elite Athletes' Rights and Welfare report recommends the introduction of a 12 point plan. Photo: RNZ/Stephen Hewson

Sport NZ chief executive Peter Miskimmin says the report, part of a wider review into sports integrity in New Zealand, has found the same issues discovered by sport-specific cultural reviews already conducted this year.

"It's reinforced a lot of the things we've already heard coming out of the previous reviews around cycling and football.

"A lot of those are around making sure we get that better balance between winning and welfare, not only in our athletes but also with coaches and others in our system."

High Performance Sport NZ chief executive Michael Scott says the review will create stronger high performance systems.

It builds on the findings of interviews with 107 individuals, ranging from elite athletes, coaches and high performance staff to national sport organisation chief executives, athlete managers and the Athletes' Commission.

Reports of bullying and intimidation recently led cycling and football to undertake wide-ranging reviews, with other high-profile sports including netball and hockey also conducting reviews.

Scott said the Cottrell report would have a positive impact on high performance sport in New Zealand.

Commonwealth Games gold medals

Commonwealth Games gold medals Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

"Between these projects, and through the collective efforts of all those working in high performancesport in New Zealand, I believe we

will create a stronger, more sustainable high performance system."

He said Cottrell's recommendations relating to High Performance Sport NZ would be implemented through the organisation's high performance 12-point plan.

"Mr Cottrell's recommendations provide additional context for the terms of reference of these pieces of work, and the high performance 12-point plan provides the right framework and approach to get the job done."

Among the recommendations are:

*The funding model for high peformance sport be reviewed to find the right balance between short term performance and long term sustainable development.

*Sport NZ and HPSNZ develop leadership training for National Sports Organisations around the rights and welfare of elite athletes.

*National Sports Organisations, including elite althletes, be consulted on what improvements, if any, are rquired in relation to the rights and welfare of top athletes.

* A review be carried out on the Athlete Life programme to make sure it's delivering on career and off field development of athletes.

*A co-ordinated approach from sport organisations needs to implemented to champion the benefits of diversity and inclusion at all levels of sport.

*Further consideration needs to be given to expanding the Sports Tribunal

*The implementation of a mechanism to report serious issues in sport.

Autumn International, Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy 24/11/2018
Italy vs New Zealand All Blacks
Dalton Papalii and Ardie Savea after the game, wearing rainbow laces on their boots in support of Gareth Thomas.
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan / www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport